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B00B! Interview

With Ajay_Homer, author of Raptors Return and DcRaptors a Mod for Quake and QuakeDc.

Interviewed by WRAGGSTER. Edited by CyRUS64.

This interview was done on behalf of ConsoleVision and B00B! Dreamcast Research.

B00B! Dreamcast Research: Where were you born, live and family details etc?

Ajay_Homer: I was born in London, England in *gulp* 1965. I currently live in Swindon, Wiltshire. Not the most happening place, but a fairly nice one in which to 'raise the kids'. I'm married, have 2 kids, with one due anytime now; ('can't be soon enough' - my wife)

B00B: What qualifications do you have?

AH: Very few; I dropped out of my a levels, did a years' computer course (in 1982), then did very little until I trained to be a Nurse for people with learning disabilities from 1988-1991.

B00B: What made you get into computers?

AH: Initially it was playing the original Space Invaders arcade machine, and Defender on BBC micros they prompted me to do the computer course, which in retrspect wasn't the right one; it was more about (what was then called) "Operating" rather than programming, and although there was money in it, it really bored me senseless, and I left it behind. I didn't really get back into computer related stuff until getting SMS, then a Mega Drive, Saturn, PS and finally a Dreamcast. Meanwhile I got my first pc, a p133 "for work and the kids, kind wife" the first game for which was QUAKE.....

B00B: What projects/coding have you done previous to any Dreamcast programming?

AH: Well the only previous thing I've done relating to my DCQuake stuff was other Quake mods; firstly a pretty sad one, involving ppl I work with and our place of work. I also wrote small, crappy qbasic programms, the most successful of which (by which you can judge how bad the others were) was a Lottery Simulator ..... oh dear.

B00B: What was your inspiration to start modding for Quake on the Dreamcast?

AH: As i've said I'd played with Quake modding for pc, but failed to really stick with it, develop the skills, to ever finish anything worthwhile. Then I was reading a Dreamcast Magazine which mentioned DcQuake and a site where you could get it - DCEmulation.

B00B: How did you start and what programs did you use to start coding?

AH: The software I use for Quake modding are:
Model work: QuakeMe
General gfx stuff: Paint Shop Pro
.Pak editing: PakExplorer
QuakeC editing/coding: EditPad
Progs.dat compiling: Proqcc
Level editing: Wordlcraft
For the more dc/burning relevant stuff:

B00B: Do you see any updates to your Mods DcRaptors and Raptors Return?

AH: Ermm, maybe. I'm (slowly; life's hetic at the moment) testing, experimenting with and learning about QuakeC ideas and functions e.g. triggerable version of Akuma's SlowMo. If any of these endeavours appear to build on either raptor mod, then I'll release a patch. Otherwise they're done; unless anyone wants to send in their own Raptors levels, in which cas I'll put them out.

B00B: Would you consider doing mods for DoomDc and also what is your opinion of DoomDc and QuakeDc?

AH: I'll probably not be doing any DoomDc stuff, I've played Doom a lot, but not done any mods or levels for it, so there would be skills to learn, and I don't have the time. DoomDc is really a different thing to DcQuake; it's a home/hobbyist port which gives it a lot more credibility. I was very impressed when I first played it - a hell of a job was done. In many respects DcQuake is a mixed bag, there's much to be impressed about; the colours are strong and vibrant (well the browns are :-) ) and it's amazing that it was done so quick. However animations are crap, and there are some strange and not (well by me anyway) completely understood limitations to it, that hold back modding. I think that's where the quickness of the port lets it down; compare it with dc Quake3arena, and it's failings are apparent.

B00B: If it were allowed ,would modding for Quake 3 be a possibility?

AH: I've done a couple of awful levels for PC q3a, the whole process is a lot more complicated, especially if you're trying to turn out a single-player mod for what is basically a multi-player game. I'd like to be able to add different models to it (I currently play it as Homer, natch) but I'm not too interested in modding it otherwise. I think the process that would be neccessary to mod it (rip it, mod it, burn it) would probably never be allowed anyway.

B00B: Do you have any new projects in the pipeline ?

AH: Yep, but it's a long and slow pipeline!
My long-term project is "Devil May Care" a quake tc (details can be found at my site). A lot of what I want to happen with it, in terms of level design and QuakeC is quite complicated (the SlowMo bit is part of it) and I'm on a steep learning curve to achieve it. It also requires a long pre-game and in-game storyline to be written, which is what I'm currently doing. A lot of what might actually appear this year in terms of output, are smaller projects I'm doing to either improve my skills, test out ideas or just to serve as an entertaining deiversion. The first of those have been 2 deathmatch levels. I'm also working on some QuakeC code and sp level. In the back of my mind is a Star Wars mini-mod (about the size of Raptors!) which I'd aim mostly at DcQuake, as it would be a food test of custom textures. I'm waiting for permission to use some very cool S.W. textures, then models, before beginning.

B00B: Whats your opinion of the new super consoles like X-box,Gamecube,Game Boy Advance and the Playstation 2?

AH: Playstation2 I'm just not impressed with, for the money and length of time since the DC's release, it should be much better. I think it's surviving on the Playstation brand, as it really falls between the DC and GC/XBXO generations. XBOX should be very powerful, and I think I'm right in saying, offers the best performance in terms of texture quality. The harddrive should be a winning feature; but it depends how they're used, and whether console gamers really take to it. It's real battle ground will be in convincing Japan of it's worth. GameCube is my personal fave, although Nintendo will have their old problem of convincing ppl that they make games for all age-groups, and of releasing enough games. (Resident Evil should help bigtime) GameBoy Advance will sell through the roof; despite of the games or the consoles lighting problems, as it's the only handheld out there. I tip Mario and Pokemon to win the day for it (big suprise there then!)

B00B: Which console looks the best for devving on?

AH: Almost certainly XBOX, depending on what restrictions Microsoft employ to combat piracy; as that always makes legit devving harder too.

B00B: What are your favorite games for every system you have

AH: Wow, tough one!
BBC Micro: Defender, LOTR text game and some Lottery Simulator thing
SMS: Alex Kidd, Tennis and Hang-on (the only 3 I have left!)
MegaDrive: Ecco, Sonic and Virtua Racing
Saturn: Sega Rally, Nights and Panzer Dragoon
PS: Colin McRae Rally, Tomb Raider and Spyro (honest, okay my son made me say that)
PC: Quake (1 and 3), Virtua Pool and Alien v Predator
N64: Zelda, Mario and Super Smash Brothers
DC: Crazy Taxi, Shenmue, F355 Challenge and some Raptors! thing

B00B: Your thoughts on the Dreamcast Emulation/Development Scene and how can it be improved?

AH: Damn I'd annoy ppl if I really said! Okay as diplomatically as I can. Too many kids, too many egos, too much in-fighting. On the positive side, a lot of creative ppl who are extremely motivated. I'm waiting for the next 12 months to be over; by then it'll have settled down, many ppl will have left and hopefully what will be left will be the truly committed and sensible ones. Then it will more resemble the Q1 scene, which is a friendlier, more mature community. What might really help it is, ironically, the final death of the DC; maybe (big maybe) Sega would release more information and tools to help devving, which although could help piracy, might by then be considered no longer hurtful to Sega's business.

B00B: May i say thank you for your time ,i understand the last week has been one of the most terrible ever and i wish you the best of luck with your work and personel life etc.

AH: np

This document/interview is Copyright © 2001 by Wraggster and may not be reproduced in whole or part without permission.